Calgary Flames coach Glen Gulutzan was much easier on his team Thursday night.
Johnny Gaudreau scored with 31 seconds on the clock in overtime and Calgary edged the Ottawa Senators 3-2, two days after Gulutzan called his struggling squad "pathetic."
Gulutzan thought his players were in the right frame of mind from the start this time and wasn't worried even when the Senators mounted a late comeback.
"The one thing is, when we get down we're not great at coming back, but when we have the lead in the third we have a great record," Gulutzan said. "I wasn't worried about that, just the feel on the bench was that the guys were dialed in."
Micheal Ferland and Sean Monahan also scored for the Flames (25-24-3), who squandered a 2-0 lead in the third period but still snapped a four-game losing streak. Brian Elliott, a former goalie for the Senators, made 25 saves in the victory.
"We found a way to win," Gaudreau said. "It was a big one for us."
Chris Wideman and Tommy Wingels scored for the Senators (26-15-6), and Mike Condon stopped 23 shots.
The game marked the return of former Ottawa coach Dave Cameron, who was fired after last season. He is now an assistant with Calgary.
Senators coach Guy Boucher thought his team let an opportunity slip away as it failed to have its best effort through the first 40 minutes.
"The reality is, when you're not there for two periods you don't deserve to win and I think the result indicates the game," he said.
The Senators had spoken about not underestimating the slumping Flames, but Boucher said the letdown didn't come as a huge surprise.
"I think we lacked a bit of respect in terms of the fear factor and we had to battle that," Boucher acknowledged. "Having said that, I think the third period we played a really good period, our guys were bouncing back and it was a great character point."
With both teams heading into the All-Star break, the win came at a most opportune time for the Flames.
"Anytime you get some time off, you want to be going in thinking about that last game as it sticks with you, so I think that was a big win for our team here," Monahan said.
After a slow start, the Senators scored twice in the third to draw even and finally give the 16,263 on hand at Canadian Tire Centre something to get excited about.
Wideman tied the score 2-all with 62 seconds remaining in regulation when he beat Elliott to the far side.
"We didn't really play the way that we wanted. They did a much better job than we did creating chances and battling for loose pucks," Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson said. "Somehow we found a way in the third period to come back and did a great job at that, but at the end of the day, a full 64 minutes wasn't really good enough to win this game, so that's why we're lucky we came away with a point."
Wingels, making his Senators debut after being acquired Tuesday from San Jose, tipped Fredrik Claesson's point shot to put Ottawa on the board early in the period.
"It felt good to get one and the team battled hard to get a point, so happy about that," Wingels said.
Calgary scored first for the first time in 10 games when Ferland connected at 9:39 of the second.
The Flames made it 2-0 with under three minutes left in the period as Dougie Hamilton deked his way around Ryan Dzingel to get a shot off. Poor defensive coverage left the puck out front, where Monahan was able to draw it back and put it between his legs to beat Condon.
"I didn't really think about it; it just kind of happened," Monahan said. "It was a big goal there for the turning point in the game and we needed to maintain that lead. We didn't, but we needed to find a way to win and we did that."
NOTES: Ottawa RW Chris Neil was a healthy scratch. D Mark Borowiecki missed his fifth straight due to the flu. ... Calgary D Jyrki Jokipakka and C Freddie Hamilton were healthy scratches.
Flames: Host the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.
Senators: At the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.